Definition of ability in English:

ability

noun

  • 1in singular, with infinitive Possession of the means or skill to do something.

    ‘the manager had lost his ability to motivate the players’
    • ‘He has professional experience and has the ability to serve in any controlling body.’
    • ‘Perhaps, but how many have charisma and the ability to motivate and inspire players?’
    • ‘All you are paying for is the ability to say that you've seen it early.’
    • ‘He possesses that rare ability to unlock defences to break a stalemate.’
    • ‘He has pace, skill, an ability to shoot with both feet, and incredible shot accuracy.’
    • ‘Making soup requires very little in the way of culinary skills apart from an ability to chop vegetables.’
    • ‘Many sources cited in the book pay tribute to his ability to include others, to lead.’
    • ‘Those countries first have to have access to knowledge and the ability to use knowledge.’
    • ‘I'm convinced that he possesses the individual technical ability to be in the France team.’
    • ‘Finally, a more equal system of registration fees should be introduced, based on the ability to pay.’
    • ‘Britain should adopt a graduated income tax based on the ability to pay.’
    • ‘You possess the ability to back your strong imagination with will and action.’
    • ‘The defendant denied that, and said that Michael worked and had the ability to pay.’
    • ‘But to my mind the most important thing by far is the ability to motivate and get the best out of people.’
    • ‘That gave them a chance and all they lacked was the ability to dominate less experienced opponents.’
    • ‘The one thing we need right now is enthusiasm and the ability to motivate a squad.’
    • ‘He has skills and knowledge and an ability to work all over the world that the older men simply don't have.’
    • ‘The boy possesses the uncanny ability to eat like an elephant and remain as skinny as a stick.’
    • ‘It was, in its own way, a triumph: the message of a voiceless woman who never lost her ability to speak.’
    • ‘Mario Jardel has the potential and the ability to become a Bolton Wanderers hero.’
    capacity, capability, potential, potentiality, power, faculty, aptness, facility, propensity, wherewithal, means, preparedness
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  • 2mass noun Talent, skill, or proficiency in a particular area.

    ‘a man of exceptional ability’
    count noun ‘pupils of all abilities’
    • ‘The company is part of an empire with proven marketing ability, especially in selling music.’
    • ‘Does anyone think leadership ability can be quantified?’
    • ‘This indicates that differences in the rate of accumulation of economic knowledge due to natural ability do not exist.’
    • ‘His pace and score-taking ability impressed many in the final games of the season.’
    • ‘She utilized her resources to the best of her ability.’
    • ‘This is the sort of film that doesn't really require much acting ability.’
    • ‘His only interests were games - he was of average ability in football and cricket.’
    • ‘He's got pace, he's aggressive, and for a big lad he's got some ability.’
    • ‘I'd never seen her in a show before, so I had no idea the extent of her ability.’
    • ‘His mother was a woman of great ability, balanced and thoughtful.’
    • ‘It is a mark of her ability that the player has managed to remain in the world's top five despite the injuries.’
    talent, skill, expertise, expertness, adeptness, aptitude, skilfulness, prowess, mastery, artistry, calibre, accomplishment
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Phrases

  • to the best of one's ability

    • As well as one can.

      ‘Conrad must do his job to the best of his abilities’
      • ‘First, let me say that my story happened quite awhile ago and I shall try to the best of my ability to be as factual, and explicit as my memory will permit.’
      • ‘A firm believer in God and divinity, she says: ‘Do you work to the best of your ability and leave the rest to Him.’’
      • ‘All you can do is train and play to the best of your ability.’
      • ‘We believe everything is OK as long as you don't hurt anyone, to the best of your definition of hurt, and to the best of your knowledge.’
      • ‘Unless both sides feel that you are representing their interest to the best of your ability, there is no possible way to have any kind of success.’
      • ‘In order to do the thing, to the best of your ability and give you the flexibility for the uncertainty that always comes about in combat.’
      • ‘The following is, to the best of my ability, a recreation of the factual debate between two of the presenters who shall go unnamed.’
      • ‘He puts so much into everything he does that those around him are inspired to perform to the best of their ability: there is such a strong desire not to let him down.’
      • ‘You were placed there to correct the situation to the best of your ability, and either your ability or your execution came up short.’
      • ‘If you can't, manage them to the best of your ability.’
      • ‘I think understanding when to play the exact record at the right time leads to that energy and also practicing, practicing at home and making sure that you know your material and you're able to perform it to the best of your ability.’
      • ‘Hanley's advice to anyone who wants to succeed in life is simple: ‘In sport, in business, in life you have to perform to the best of your ability and give everything.’’
      • ‘If you're good at what you do, you have the right motivation and you do it to the best of your ability, people respect you and will work with you.’
      • ‘My only advice for my sister was to use her military training to the best of her ability and stay strong.’
      • ‘But if you do, it should be because you've analyzed the data, to the best of your ability and without wishful thinking; not because you want it to be so.’
      • ‘But morale has remained high - as a pro player it should never be difficult to maintain your enthusiasm because you're paid to go out there and perform to the best of your ability.’
      • ‘And to the best of your knowledge as you're getting from the airport and maybe the tower, the aircraft right now is simply burning fuel?’
      • ‘Enjoy your Monday - to the best of your ability anyhow.’
      • ‘You defend your client to the best of your ability.’
      • ‘Plant two trees each, and thirdly, do your duty to the best of your ability.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French ablete, from Latin habilitas, from habilis ‘able’.

Pronunciation

ability

/əˈbɪlɪti/